Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Calculating your Risk for Prostate Cancer

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Age is a strong risk factor for developing the cancer. The older you are the more likely you may be diagnosed with the disease. Between age 40 and 49 the ratio is about 5 in 10, healing 000 men. At 50, it jumps to about 47 in 10,000. Over 50, nearly 150 in 10,000.

Race is a second factor. African American and Caribbean men are at higher risk than men of other races. And their cancers are generally more aggressive than men of other races. The reasons are not completely understood and are being explored. Some evidence suggests their diets and nutrition are involved. Often their conditions are not discovered until at very late stages of the disease. Scientists are now convinced that other yet unknown genetic issues are in play. And that is where much of today’s research is focused.

 Family history and inheritance present a third risk. The belief is that an inherited faulty gene from parents causes the disease. Having a grandfather with prostate cancer increases the odds of one’s getting the disease. If your father or brother have the cancer some studies show an eleven fold increase in prostate cancer susceptibility.

How did I get prostate cancer?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

A common question a patient asks. We have no easy answers but we have some possibilities to offer. Cells in the body are constantly dividing, salve reaching maturity and dying in a controlled programmed manner. The process is called apoptosis. If the process gets screwed up and stops, viagra cells that should die off don’t and they continue to proliferate uncontrolled. That’s when they lump together and form a tumor. The tumor can then spread and invade other sites in the body.

Prostate cancers typically begin in the part of the prostate gland that is closest to the rectum. When a tumor reaches the size of about 1 cm, the doctor can perform a DRE (digital rectal exam) and detect the presence of the tumor. The next step is a biopsy to confirm the finding. That was the principle test until 1986. That’s when the PSA test was inaugurated. Today, the PSA test can detect elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen—signaling presence of a tumor—well before the tumor has grown to a size that can be felt during a DRE.

While researchers are homing in on the causes of prostate cancer, they can already point to critical risk factors for influencing whether or not cancer will develop. They include age, race and family history.

Harvard Med School Updates Prostate Cancer Tests

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Harvard Medical School brings us up to date with a summary of how researchers are looking for better biomarkers to screen for the presence of prostate cancer.

Biomarkers, doctor to begin with, recipe are indicators that help differentiate cancer cells from normal ones. Since the 90s we have relied on PSA ( prostate specific antigens ) tests to help distinguish prostate cancer cells from normal ones. What this PSA test does is look for high levels of PSA in the blood which MIGHT indicate the presence of cancer cells. But the problem is it might NOT. It could simply indicate there is something going on with the prostate that is not cancerous.

It could simply suggest a benign condition. Perhaps the prostate is enlarged—yet benign. So the PSA test, salve at the moment the only tool in the tool box, to help hunt for prostate cancer cells could present a benign condition of the gland. Even if the PSA proves to be positive, the test alone does not tell you which cancers are aggressive and need treatment and which are slow-growing and can be managed more conservatively. So, scientists are busy looking for other tests that can clearly identify prostate cancer and tests that can determine whether a detectable cancer is aggressive or not.

Here is a list of promising research methods currently being carried out by cancer institutes and universities:

 Urine-based biomarkers: The prostate releases material that can be detected and measured in the urine. New urine tests can detect changes in genes and biomarkers that are specific to prostate cancer. The results of these neTagsw tests can help pinpoint whether a biopsy is necessary.

 Genetic tests of prostate tissue: Scientists are looking now at newer and more sophisticated tests that detect markers of specific genes that help doctors distinguish between the slow-growing and more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. These tests can even find hidden cancers in men whose biopsies were negative.

 Circulating tumor cells: Cancer spreads when tumor cells break away and get swept into the bloodstream. That’s when they begin growing in other parts of the body—bones, lymph nodes, etc. Another test being investigated is called “liquid biopsy.” Here a simple blood test captures and measures circulating tumor cells and their corresponding telltale markers. It should be noted that this kind of test is purely investigative and not yet readily available. Yet, when it will be it could one day reduce the need for follow-up biopsies and help determine when prostate cancer treatment is working.


Nighttime Urintating: What Can You Do About It?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Many prostate patients suffer from what is called nocturia. That’s but a fancy of way of saying they have to run to the bathroom frequently to urinate at night. But you don’t have to be a prostate patient to experience nocturia. In fact, pharmacy you don’t even have to be a male. Men and women alike suffer from nocturia and find themselves running to the bathroom a lot at night. It can disturb your partner in addition to disrupting your own sleep. So, viagra 100mg can anything be done about it or must you go about suffering this indignity? The answer is, cialis yes, Virginia, you can do something about it. But before we tell you what you can do, let’s tell you what’s going on here and why you are on the run at bedtime.

First of all, prostate patients, if you have an enlarged prostate, you may find yourself suffering from nighttime urinary frequency. And many men complain that despite what is called prostate-directed treatment offered by your urologist just isn’t doing the trick.

Nocturia is caused by an aging bladder, and it’s the result of changes in the bladder wall and changes in nerve signals that tell the bladder to relax. So just as we find that our joints and muscles are not as flexible when we are older as they were when we were younger, we find that there is a loss of elasticity in the bladder as we age. And with loss of elasticity in the bladder, pressure within the bladder rises at lower volumes and the brain receives a signal more frequently that the bladder is full! Result: a trip to the bathroom. Besides, there’s our biologic clock messing us up. It’s responsible for the body’s daily rhythms, and while it’s supposed to tell the body to re-absorb water so we can sleep undisturbed, guess what? It slips up and there is no watchmaker in sight. So it’s back to the bathroom once again.

Now that you understand urinary mechanics 101, what can you do about it?

1)    Significantly cut back on all beverages in the evening. Especially, drinks containing caffeine and/or alcohol.

2)    Wear compression stockings. If you are retaining fluid in the lower part of your legs and feet, wearing compression stockings before going to bed could help reduce the fluid retention and the increased urination at night.

3)    If you are on diuretic medications (water pills) for treating high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about changing the time you take the pills. A lot of patients find that when they take their meds in mid to late afternoon—6 hours before bedtime—their nighttime urination problems are resolved.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, speak to your doctor about ways you can adjust your CPAP (continuous positive-flow airway pressure ) device. There are special ways for apnea patients to reduce nocturia.



Gene Repair Studies Could Lead to Killing Cancer Cells

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Research to discover “killing fields” for cancer cells is in high gear. Latest efforts to find ways to destroy cancer cells comes from laboratories at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. The studies we refer to focus on combining genetic and biochemical components. Here the idea is to increase the presence of a tumor-suppressing protein ( called p53BP1) that, remedy in turn, try leads cancer cells to self-destruct. What the protein does is weaken cancer cells, adiposity leaving them susceptible to existing cancer-fighting drugs.

Now, the idea is to take the lab findings and test result in animal models, and if the findings hold up in animal studies, they could hold the promise of increasing the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy in shrinking—even  eliminating tumors. ( Details can be found in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nov 24, 2014 issue. )

The researchers had been trying to figure out how to repair breaks in DNA strands. Breaks that may have been caused by radiation, chemical agents or bodily functions. That’s when they happened upon a surprising circumstance: they discovered a way to increase the protein p53BP1. Next came the idea that increasing this protein intentionally could result into weaking cancer cells. A Eureka moment.

The lead scientist, Dr. Upiwei Zhang, assistant professor of pharmacology at Case Western, said, “ Our discovery one day could lead to a gene therapy where extra amounts of the 53BP1 protein will be generated to make cancer cells more vulnerable to cancer treatment. He explained that the idea is to have the proteins trick the cancer cells to go to a fork in the road and take the wrong turn—one that would lead to their destruction. In layman’s language professor Zhang says ultimately we would eventually want to build up the number of these 53BP1 proteins in patients to make their cancer cells vulnerable to radiation therapy and chemotherapy drugs.




Saturday, November 15th, 2014



A new study from the Universities of Nottingham and Bristol in the UK may have found a new way to halt the spread of prostate tumors. The concept works like this: Prostate cancer cells multiply by building blood vessels that, mind like pipelines, check deliver the nutrients that fuel cancer cells that spread. What if you can blow up the pipelines? In this case, halt the ability of the new blood cells to develop.

That’s what researchers have been working on. They’ve found a molecule they call SRPK1 that is needed to form the new blood vessels. The process of building these new blood vessels is known as Angiogenesis. Halting angiogenesis means blocking the SRPK1 molecule—which in turn means blocking the ability of the prostate tumor to grow—which in turn means no growth of the tumor!

Big news if researchers can replicate in humans what they found in mice!  Inhibiting SRPK1 means putting an end to the growth of the prostate tumor.

Chief investigator Professor David Bates (Division of Cancer and Stem Cells at the U of Nottingham) says: “Our results point to a novel way of treating prostate cancer and may have wider implications to be used in several types of cancers.”

Complete discussion can be found in the current journal Oncogene.


Vasectomy Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

A newly released Harvard medical study finds that vasectomy raises the risk of lethal prostate cancer. The findings are the result of a 24-year longitudinal study of 50, tadalafil 000 men. The report, published in the July 7th issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, says the danger appears to be highest among men who have had a vasectomy before the age of 38!

Cancer experts call these findings “extremely important,” suggesting the implications in birth control are now quite significant and suddenly push the issue of birth control on women. As it is, women face many potential side effects in dealing with birth control.

Researchers point out that even though the most dangerous forms of prostate cancer are rare, over the 24-year study, 1.6% of the men developed a lethal form of the disease. They say a 20% increase would raise that figure to less than 2%.

As for why a vasectomy might raise the increased prostate cancer risks, Kathy Wilson, a co-author of the study, says the reasons remain unclear. One possibility, yet to be confirmed in additional research, is that the operation somehow changes the protein composition of seminal fluid made in the prostate.

Even among men who have had regular PSA screenings, those who had vasectomies were said to be 56% at higher risk to develop fatal prostate cancer. They say evidence shows the link is stronger in men who had vasectomy at younger age—earlier than 38 years old.

Malcolm Mason, a research scholar at Cancer Research UK says, “The extra risk of developing prostate cancer after having a vasectomy appears to be small, but of the few that do go on to develop the disease a higher number will develop an aggressive form.”

Among those who counsel caution is Dr. Louis Kavoussi, chairman of urology at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde, New York. He calls for more research in a “better controlled fashion” before physicians apply these findings to clinical practice. “It’s not like cigarette smoking causing a large number of people to develop lung cancer.

Support for the study comes from a grant to the Harvard School for Public Health by the U.S. National Cancer Institute among others.

New Finding: Old drug added to new drugs can equal exended life

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

In the ongoing race to find drugs that aid prostate cancer survival an important finding has just been reported. Namely, case a cheap old drug used in chemotherapy—docetaxel sold under the name of Taxotere—when added to standard hormone therapy for men whose prostate cancer has widely spread can extend life by more than a year! The lead scientist in a nearly decade long study—Dr.Christopher Sweeney of Boston’s Dana-Farber Institute—hailed the discovery as one of the biggest improvements in survival for advanced cancer patients.

Men who received docetaxel lived nearly 58 months vs 44 months for those not given the drug. Dr. Sweeney shared the results at the American Society of Oncologist’s annual conference in Chicago earlier this month. It is the combination of a cheap decades old chemotherapy drug added to a newer drug that has researchers excited.

All  790 men in the study received drugs to block testosterone,which fuels prostate cancer’s growth, and half also were given six infusions of docetaxel, one every three weeks. About 2 ½ years later, 101 of the men given docetaxel had died compared to 136 of the men who did not get it. Dr. Sweeney said most men who received docetaxel were able to tolerate treatment well.

The National Cancer Institute funded the decade long study. Results show the importance of federal funding for research, scientists say, that otherwise might not get done. Dr. Clifford Hudis, a physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York says the pharmaceutical industry is less interested in funding a new use for an old drug because it has lost patent protection long ago.

Genenric docetaxel costs about $1500 per infusion. Compare that with other (newer) drugs that can cost as much as $100,000 or more for a course of treatment.

Cautionary Yellow Light for Advanced Prostate Patients

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The drug Enzalutamide marketed as Xtandi has had great success in the treatment of metastatic castration resistant in advanced prostate cancer. Xtandi is an androgen receptor antagonist drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Medivation.  ( The drug is also administered in some instances to inhibit breast cancer cell growth. )

However, at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (April, 2014) in San Diego, California a cautionary note was sounded by Dr. Emmanuel Antonarakis of Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

In a recent study Dr. Antonarakis and colleagues identified a genetic biomarker called AR-V7 that can be found in circulating tumor cells and that predicts resistance to Enzalutamide in men with advanced prostate cancer!

The marker AR-V7 was found in nearly 40 percent of patients tested.  Meaning, it is fairly common Dr. Antonarakis says.  “Patients considering treatment with Enzaltamide could have a blood test taken in advance to determine if their (particular) cancer contains AR-V7.  If (the answer is) yes, then these patients should seek alternative therapies because Enzalutamide will not be effective.”  In these instances, Dr. Antonarakis suggests therapies such as chemotherapy should be considered.






New Scan Finds Dormant Cancer Cells

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Researchers in Britain have hit upon a dramatic new imaging technique that lights up cancer’s sleeping or dormant cells.  When cancer cells stop growing they can go into a dormant stage and store energy for future use.  That means they can become resistant to killer drugs and escape detection.  Up to now, invasive techniques are used to find them and most have been able to evade detection.  Now  a radioactive molecule has been discovered that can pinpoint these sleeper cells that may eventually wake up and create havoc in the body.


The lead scientist at Imperial College London, Professor Eric Aboagye,says this new technique called PET SCAN  (positron emission tomography)  has the immediate potential in the clinic to assess how well drugs are working for patients and to warn of potential relapses of treatment. And it is non-invasive!


 The research so far has been used on mice and Professor Aboagye says the technique shows real promise as a tool for telling doctors how much of the cancer can possibly be escaping treatment.  He says the technique can be translated to work in humans and can be adapted for the clinic to help save more lives.  This is a remarkable new development that the researchers are convinced can be used in the future to treat an entire array of cancers beyond prostate.